Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hurricane Ridge Trip

Standing on the porch at the lodge at Hurricane Ridge in the
Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, WA.
I think I smell snow in that leaden sky.
   The last trip to Hurricane Ridge was on Beloved's Harley under sunny skies and of course the road up there was dry and clear.

Mt.Olympus is off to the right, past the snow-made polar bear.
   Today it was snow-covered and, in at least two places, had tree debris from trees dislodged with by snow or wind.
   And this time it required chains on tires, so I wasn't about to put myself through that experience again. (I think the last time was from my house in East Fork heading toward Ketchum in Idaho.)
Looking eastward, sort of toward Seattle, WA.
   So I rode up with a shuttle service and a trip that should have taken about an hour was almost twice that with a faulty chain install on a rear tire that went "whap-whap-whap" for 18 miles up and 18 miles back.

    It was impressive at the top, though.
   Over a week of steady snow and wind with periodic mild warmings had created some very long icicles and snow statues from trees that were totally covered.

   I stepped off a path for cross-country skiers and sunk down to my waist... and the snow was really blue even a short distance down.
I love this color blue under these circumstances. I think it
might be less appealing if it was much deeper and I was in it.
   The most fun was enjoying the smell of snow, the crunch under my feet, and my body was remembering the guarded expectation of putting on skis, heading off for a powdery run, the wonderful exhilaration of feeling the weight shift back and forth while whooshing downhill.

The lodge to the left has an overlook spot below,
but it is covered in snow up to about six feet.
   When my kids try to encourage me to take up skiing again I explain that it's not a sport for seniors who have stopped it for a decade, and besides, it's significantly more expensive to rent all that gear now that it was 10 years ago... and just for a one-weekend experience?

   I have skied in N.H., Vermont (Suicide Six, especially), Massachusetts, Idaho, Calif., Canada and Austria. I have skied with some of the most interesting folks when I worked at Sun Valley and that includes volunteering with the Ski Patrol.

   Getting older should mean getting wiser, too.

   And so when I had my last downhill ski trip with the Scottsdale Sail and Ski Club, I decided it was time to enjoy it to the fullest and then sell my equipment.

   The two close calls I had with other skiers who were skiing out of control only confirmed it was time I did just that.

"Sandy Banks" in a snow bank...
Halfway down the ridge, after the tunnels, looking down on
Sequim, WA and Puget Sound.
   I can still cross-country ski or snowshoe, and perhaps I will do more of that this winter.

Unknown couple heading off on the Cross Country trail.

There is still a lot I can do to enjoy the times I go out into wintry weather, and I hope, dear readers, you have enjoyed this trip into a wintry wonder just a short distance from Sequim.

A White Christmas... really!

Snow sticking to moss-covered branches - Sequim, WA
 According to the National Weather Service, in order to qualify for the "White Christmas" label, the event must have "one inch or more on the ground, sticking" and so today, Dec. 25, I went in search of my White Christmas.

I found it about half an hour from my home, up on Palo Alto Road in Sequim, WA. Slushy roads and all, there was plenty of snow that was sticking and more was coming down as well.

I liked the deep red of the structure nearly matching the same
color of the branches in contrast to the deeper green of the trees.
My updated Canon EOS Rebel was up to the task of recording this momentous event, but I realized after a brief sojourn in the white stuff that I do not have the same desire I had decades ago for hanging out in it for as long a time as I used to do.

Perhaps I need to do more walking about... but the damp cold made its way into my feet and hands all too quickly and I was more than ready to return to the heated seats of my front-wheel drive vehicle.

The temperature was staying low enough to keep the road
covered and for the precipitation to fall as snow, not rain.
As we go about our lives, on what might appear to be a gloomy day, if we look closely we can see the subtle colors of life making lovely patterns. It is really about how we choose to see things, and the difficulty with folks who are struggling with mental illnesses or brain disorders is that their ability to appreciate is flawed - they are not. If I was a lot younger I think I would try to find a way to help these people divert their brain channels to the prettier and more colorful aspects.

This was a solitary Christmas as all my children were in different places and I used my time well. I did not feel sad or sorry for myself for the time alone. I slept late and made myself a colorful omelet, went out and took some photographs and later was invited to a small gathering.

As the day is winding down, I realize that it has been just what I wanted for Christmas... a day of peace and joy. I hope each of you are finding some of that for yourselves as well.

This last photo seems to sum up my day... surrounded by
other trees, I still am a single, somewhat different version.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lady Walpole's Reel

    I was about 12 when I started square dancing with Duke Miller calling the Saturday dances at the Peterborough Country Club in Peterborough, N.H.
    Eventually I discovered that I liked contra dancing better and gradually left squares behind for the most part. I still do go to them, but contra is where my heart is.
    One of my favorite contra forms is the Lady Walpole's Reel and so when I was considering my first stint as a caller, that had to be my first pattern.
    There is an event here in the Olympic Peninsula area called the Bob Boardman Memorial Contra, always the first Saturday in December, to honor a remarkable musician and to support scholarships for those who will carry on the musical torch of fiddling. (Follow the link to learn more about it.)

    This is a time when new musicians are invited to join the band and for new callers to have a go on stage. So I'd been thinking about doing this for awhile.

    But with my life being as busy as it is, I had been postponing practicing until mid-afternoon when I realized if I was going to be on stage, I'd better get somewhat prepared...
    Thus, I went looking for music for the reel so I could practice calling to it, knowing there was every likelihood I would have to call to another reel tune.

    What was the first thing that popped up?
    My mother playing the piano with Newt Tolman and his flute on a YouTube rendition (just the music, no video) in a lovely quick version of the Lady Walpoles Reel. (Here: )

    It is interesting that their recording calls it "Ladies Walpole Reel" but Ralph Page always referred to it as I have titled this entry, saying that the reel was designed so that Lady Walpole was not required to dance much with her husband... partners in the dance formation do not dance with each other (swinging) until the very last call.

    Then I found Duke Miller's version, recorded back one summer a really long time ago. (You can listen to it here:
    And as I wrote down his calls, listened to the music and thought about it, a niggling little voice was saying, "Man, this is harder than I thought."

    But I went to the dance, and Carol Piening, who was calling tonight, was very encouraging and coached me before everyone arrived.

Dancers at the Black Diamond Community Hall, Port Angeles, WA, doing
the Lady Walpole Reel (circa 1872) called by Yours Truly.
Photo by Jenna Rose
    After everyone was warmed up with a variety of dances, she said, "We are welcoming to the stage someone who has been dancing for 50 years and will be making her debut as a caller...."

    Introducing the dance, I said, "I want to dedicate this dance to my mother, Kay Gilbert, who was, in her own right, a great musician and who loved the music enough to help keep it going."

(She, with Newt Tolman, produced The Nelson Music Collection, saving some historic music by documenting it for the first time. Here is a link to the publication:, which now has a CD with it, thanks to his son, Renn Tolman's efforts.)
The Possom Carvers, Scott Marcksx, on fiddle, Chris Cooper, guitar,
(Jeannie Murphy was missing from the group) me and Carol Peining (hidden),
was coaching me to make sure I didn't rush the dancers. What a great group!
Photo by Jenna Rose
    And after a brief instruction to the dancers, the music began... I don't know what the name was for the first reel played, but when they switched to the Queen Anne Reel, (also known as St. Anne's Reel) I was   hearing Kay and Newt again... transported, I relaxed, got into the rhythm, easily calling the dance though to the end...

    After it was over, I was speaking to Carol about the importance the last piece of music had for me. Then Scott, the fiddle player, said the last piece was the first one he ever learned. It turned out that Carol knows Dudley Laufman and knew about Kay and Newt and the Collection... and round and round it went...

    I truly felt as if Kay and Newt were with me, that I was being guided and supported in the most mystical way, and after it was all over, even now as I write this, I realize what a gift this evening was.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Scandia Ball

The  61st Scandia Ball was at the Seattle Latvian Center in Seattle on Oct. 17, 2015.
61st Scandia Ball in Seattle, WA
It was my first time to go but not my first opportunity to dance some Scandinavian dances.

The ball begins with a Grand March around the hall.
In the N.H. town where I grew up there were a lot of Scandinavians: Norwegians, Finlanders, Danes and Swedes.

I first learned the Schottish at a New England contra dance.

Last night I danced many different versions of this energetic and lively pattern!!

Two friends from my contra dance group were here!
Today I am enjoying the memories of an evening with costumes and Swedish visitors... drat, didn't get to practice my limited Swedish on anyone, but had a wonderful 'vortexy' moment with a man from there: we were doing the


 (mixer) where every seventh person was the one you were swinging... on the last connection, I met up with this charming Swede who recognized from my swing that I love doing it, it was an easy beat and that I am still imperfectly capable of swinging for a long period of time with someone else who is equally easy and proficient.

Musicians at play... interesting instruments!!
In his halting English he asked if I would care to do the next dance and I nodded and we started off on the Rørospols
 (which is a dance with lots of swinging, only they call that something else). We walked to the beat and then turned to swing and we just kept turning and turning and quietly laughing to each other in our eyes. When it was over, after many minutes of swinging, we shook hands and walked away... joy totally in that moment... joy in remembering it!

I learned the Telespringar, the Snoa, did a Familjevals, the Hambo, had several lovely Vals (Waltz both in Viennese style and Norska style) but missed the Godnatt Vals because my driving companion wanted to make sure we didn't miss the last ferry to Kingston.

Happily exhausted and looking forward to more dancing... tonight it's Country Western with Buck Ellard at the Sequim Prairie Grange...

Love never dies, but other things...

have endings... just as summer winds down and the earth prepares for hibernation... leaves fall, things change, but it is just a season.
A beautiful fall day off Deer Park Road, Port Angeles, WA
Although the trip to Victoria gets ranked as a high point in my relationship with Beloved, after ten months of being together and with his plans to move to Boise, Idaho, in a few months, it was clear our paths were diverging.

There was much about the journey together that has been a gift to me and hopefully for him, too. I cannot be sad about something that started so joyfully and had one final blast of fun as an ending.

I am intending my next adventure is a connection on more levels that just gets better and better... align with me?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Victoria, BC, to Ucluelet and back

Waiting for the ferry to BC; the
blue bike carried us for miles. The
guy behind it is another rider.
M/V Coho arriving in Port Angeles.
After months of sunshine, during the last week of August and part of the first week in September 2015 the heavens decided to open up and answer all the wishes for rain that people have been putting forth all summer... and so there was a deluge over most of the NW... high winds, intense rain, falling trees, power outages, etc.

We both discussed whether or not the weather was going to cooperate, but I think in the end, since the adventure was mostly about the motorcycle ride, Beloved really wanted to take it, and just deal with what we got.

Vacation was set for August 30, and fortunately that day did dawn sunny and bright, not too much wind, so the crossing over to British Columbia and Victoria on the M/V Coho from Port Angeles was easy. I had never been on my motorcycle on a ferry, so that was a new aspect of adventure for me.

Leaving the U.S. and Port Angeles.
Nice view of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Angeles, WA.

Arriving in BC, passing the
cruise ship docks.

Clearing customs, the officer looked at my passport with all the visas and pointedly asked me, "Are you planning to stay long?" I replied, from the back of the Harley, "Nope, just a week."

We must have made a curious couple to him since Beloved's passport was devoid of any stamps at all. So he stamped them both.
Tudor Printing... a relative?

We had days of sunshine and days of rain and days with both. But what we had the most of was lots of walking - over five miles each day! - and a very easy time together. Given that we have been on a couple of motorcycle trips and spent some time together, we still had not had uninterrupted time, day and night. Even the best of friends can get a little stressed being together 24/7, so it was a delightful surprise that there was practically no disruption.

Victoria has so much to see and explore and this time the Royal British Columbia Museum was featuring a display of gold from the Museo del Oro in Bogota, Colombia. There were pieces there that I was sure I had seen in Bogota. And the history of the gold rush in BC was fascinating.

The famed Empress Hotel overlooks the waterfront. I had tea
here once, but neither of us cared to go there this time.
The museum should be very proud of itself because the standing displays have a lot of details, making it a place to return to.

We had lunch in Chinatown one day. That was an odd experience because neither of us could recall where we had eaten when there previously, so we ended up in a Dim Sum place that was clean and quick, but Beloved declared one of the dishes looked like something that had been pulled out from under a vehicle's oil change and tasted about like that, too. Not being inclined to waste food, he bravely consumed it all.

A lot of Victorian-era homes have been restored here. Some
are B&B's, but many are still residences. Pretty.
Another day in Victoria we stopped to speak to a local commercial metro bus driver. When he learned that my traveling partner was a commercial driver from Port Angeles he drolly said, "Oh, you have busses over there?" Great hilarity that.

Finally after a couple of days of rain, there was a break and we rode the motorcycle out to the Harley-Davidson shop to buy some t-shirts and I got some leather treatment for my chaps that were still pretty newish.

That day there was a lot of construction and it was stop and go for two-thirds of the way there, so it took us almost an hour.  Two days later when we made that same drive up toward Nanaimo to Ucluelet, it took us less than 20 minutes to get past that shop.
My favorite shot... love the clouds, the reflections over the
harbour in Victoria, BC. The little structures are on the
Fisherman's Wharf... very colorful during daylight hours.
The time share had an incredible view of the harbor and the sunsets, when they were visible, were amazing. It was also close to Fisherman's Wharf where we could get a take-out dinner or just go for an after-dinner stroll. One morning we had espresso coffee in a lovely place near there, but there wasn't much of a view since it was so far back from the wharf itself.

Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf lit up with early morning sunshine.
There are two airlines that fly in and out of the harbor, only during daylight hours, so it was great fun to watch them taking off and landing. Later when we caught the little bug-like water taxis that criss-cross the harbor we learned that they are not allowed to cross the 'runway' in case a plane needs to come in for a landing.

Huge cruise ships make stops in Victoria regularly and one day we counted five of them at the docks. Fortunately we were not competing with those travelers for the geegaws, souvenirs or special trips.

Approaching Lake Kennedy, about 40 minutes from Ucluelet.
Mid-week we were finally able to head north and the weather was off and on rain, mostly light but occasionally steady.

It was a lot of concentration for Beloved to watch the road, the oncoming cars and keep our two wheels under us.

When I later showed him the pictures I had taken along the way up there, he was surprised to see moments of sunshine captured. "It was a drive requiring a lot of my attention," he said. I replied, "I know. And you did a fantastic job of it, too."

A little spot of sun as we passed Lake Kennedy on the way in.
We stopped briefly for directions in Parksville, north of Nanaimo. Then it was on to Port Alberni, which was large enough to support a Walmart, and other big box stores and because it was close to 3 p.m., we decided not to make another stop and push on since there was still more rain ahead.

Good choice, because once you leave the outskirts of the city, the road narrows down and the frost heaves from previous years are still there to remind you of what a winter might be like up here.

That made the drive just a little more challenging, as if it needed more.

Lake Kennedy is an enormous inland lake. The photo I took as we were heading westward doesn't do it justice as it was a bit squally.

Canadian Princess permanently docked in Ucluelet, BC.
I have another shot taken as we were returning to Victoria that is considerably nicer.

Just as we pulled into Ucluelet the sun came shining through all the clouds and stayed with us the rest of that day and the next!

A couple of couples... 
We had a delicious 'lunch' that really turned out to be supper on the deck of the Canadian Princess.

It was delightful to sit in the sunshine and warm up.

The one shot we got on our walk at a spot where there was a
bench, but the walk down to the water looked a little bit
challenging, so we didn't take that path.
Afterwards we walked around the village, but it is small and since it was at the end of the tourist season, not much was going on.

In fact, there weren't very many local people out and around, either.

We had to put a notice on our hotel door that we weren't interested in being awakened to go fishing at 5 a.m., and if there were folks going off to do that, we never heard them.

Breakfast the next day on board the ship was every bit as good as the earlier meal. And we had great service, too.

There was no real easy ocean access that we could find. As we were leaving the next day, we took the bike and tried to find a road to a beach, but there was nothing he dared to transit with only two wheels.

Lake Kennedy on the return trip; a really, really pretty place.
Road repairs near Lake Kennedy.
We didn't rush to head back, waiting for the sun to dry up any of the night's dew or frost... even so, it was pretty cool going through the mountains.

I imagine that going up and over those mountains
much later in the season that having frosty or icy roads is a real likelihood.

Traveling at 60 m.p.h. when the temperature is around 50 degrees is a chilling experience. I wore my chaps, but Tough Guy did not.

Even so, the sunshine rushing past my helmet, the smells of the fields and fallen leaves, the wonderful rush of being in the open will stay with me for a long while. It was a great ride!!

No surprise that he was pretty glad to get back to the heat of the city. And since we did not stop once on the return trip, except for gas, it was considerably shorter in time than it took the day before.

Coming back into Port Alberni; part of the deep water inlet
that made this city possible to be a true port of call.
Approaching the outskirts of Victoria, BC.
This was the weekend for the "Classic Boat Show" and a
pretty significant collection was available to walk through.
We had one more night and a morning in Victoria before we had to catch the ferry.

After a walk around the city for the last time on Friday, we opted for Greek takeout and caught one of the water-bug taxis back to 'home.'

We both agreed it had been a really good vacation, with only one scary time on some gravel... as a former motorcycle rider, I'd had a pretty disastrous dropping of my bike on gravel, so I am sure my own tension was conveyed when Beloved had to deal with it.

But it all ended very well... in some ways I wish we might have explored more farther north, but the weather didn't allow for that.
Last night in Victoria, BC. "Red skies at night, sailor's delight."
The big guy in the leather jacket is my traveling companion.
He was admiring a Chihuahua as he has two of his own. The
ferry ride back was cooler than our arrival, but the sun was
still much appreciated.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Proving a point

As we age, our metabolisms slow down. There is a lot of other stuff going on, too. So in my quest to find ways to improve my physical being, I stumbled upon a product that is really, really good for the mental self as well.

I have sort of come to the point of realizing that if I want to seriously lose a lot of weight, I need to cut out all the sugary things that give my pleasure. Some of those items (like ice cream) also have a lot of fat, too. But what to do when after an ice cream orgy I promise myself I will NOT do that again, only I find that now that sugar demon is in my body and wants to be fed again?

It's a torment as many of you know. And willpower may not be enough to get through at least seven days of being sugar-free to reduce that craving.

But KETO-OS, created and sold by a new company called Prüvit creates a higher level of ketones in the bloodstream which actually causes a kind of appetite-suppression for four or five hours and gets me through that 3 p.m. low when it seems like a sugar-fix is all I want... and then it's dinner time... and after four or five days of this, I suddenly have realized that I'm not craving sugar-loaded foods, I have been eating better over all, and drinking more water... and nice surprise... lost a few pounds, too.

There are plenty of peer-reviewed documents about the benefits of increase ketones in the system, and this company is more than willing to make them available. Athletes want to stay lean, without any loss of muscle, and ketogenic diets are used world-wide to do this. But anyone who has been on the Atkins Diet knows how hard it can be to stick to just protein and vegetables for weeks on end... 

So, this is a new process for me... trying it out. And very interested in what my readers might think about it... this much I do know, having access to a liquid that will provide me with more energy, better focus in the brain, less appetite for things that really are not very good for me and an improved mood are worth investigating.


Click here to check it out!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vacation mode...

This photo was taken earlier in August and was published
in the Peninsula Daily News on their website.
This is one of my photos taken at Lake Crescent, WA of my beloved as he was looking out at the lake. We were on his motorcycle, taking a drive... bliss!

Today we are leaving for a week in Canada on that same electric blue machine and I am so excited!!

The weather is cooperating and everything is working out for me... How does it get any better than this?

And yes, I'm taking a camera because I hear that Ucluelet and Tonino are gorgeous... back after Labor Day, folks... have a safe time yourselves.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Once in a blue moon..."

The phrase has come to mean "not happening frequently, a rare event" because the blue moon refers to a full moon that comes twice in a month or the fourth moon in a quarter (usually there are only three). You can read more about it here.
While the color of the moon is rarely actually blue, just it's usual cheesy color, if there has been some heavy particulate matter in the sky it might cause a color variation.

We had the rare chance to see a 'blooming' balloon as the moon was rising. I went and took pictures.
Morningstar Balloon Company beginning to inflate.

There was little wind, which was a good thing, and not too many folks actually were aware of it; guess it was mostly by invitation and if you were a FB fan of someone who knew about it, you got 'invited.'

I've only seen balloons inflated on television shows, never on site. It was interesting to watch it go from a sliver of silky materials to a fully inflated balloon with a fire below.

There was an idea that I might offer up a balloon ride to my Beloved for his 65th birthday, but he stuck a pin in that one... "Not interested in doing that - at all!" he said quite definitively. Turns out he has a fear of heights. So that would hardly be an enjoyable birthday experience. Instead we will take off for Victoria, B.C. on his motorcycle, weather permitting, and spend some time tooling about the island.

My dear friend, Jenna, is engaged to one of the handlers and photographers of the event, so that was how I learned about it. As the sun was setting, I drove over to the airport in Sequim, finding about 25 people there.

I particularly liked that I caught the four crew members with the moon
behind them as they were starting to fire up and lift off....
There was a lovely scent of new-mown hay from the cutting that was just finished along with the lively energy of lots of children who had been brought down to see the balloon... kids and balloons seems so perfectly logical, doesn't it?

Lighting up the balloon for all the viewers and the
photographers who were there to capture the moment.
I meant to get my Canon charged up for this evening, but I fell asleep after dinner and so I ended up using a monopod with my Sony and my Samsung phone... all these photos are with the Sony, but I actually got a rather sharp one with the phone, too.

The temperature was dropping with the sun so it seemed the captain was having to get more heat in the balloon to keep it up. I was close enough to hear her commands and hear the strain on the ropes that were keeping them from disappearing into the night sky.

As the sun went one way and the moon the other, the bats came out to play, too. Probably some tasty tidbits stirred up by the mower...
Don't know if the bats got caught in this shot, but they were zooming
about as I was taking it.
Dry days, hot ones, and fortunately the nights do not carry the heat most of the time. As I am writing this, it's down to 60 degrees F. outside and I will sleep well.
The blooming balloon and the blue moon... fun after dark in Sequim, WA.